Camping with your Dog, Be Prepared!

Ariana Schwab, CVT
Senior Veterinary Industry Representative
Pet Poison Helpline

It’s that time of year again.  Warm days, cool nights, green leaves and budding flowers.  Getting away from the busy hustle of day to day life is just what I want around this time of year.  I don’t know about you, but I love camping; sitting around a warm fire, enjoying nature and unplugging.  Who better to spend this time with than our furry 4-legged friends?  However, camping with a pet does take preparation to help your trip go smoothly.  You may want to consider researching nearby vet clinics where you are camping and keep their phone number handy in case of an emergency.

Of course, camping can mean several different things to different people.  Our geographic region, various wildlife exposure and even our physical abilities will affect how we prepare.  Customize your pet packing list to fit your camping trip!  Also, never exercise your dog beyond what they are ready for.  Your dog needs to work out and build up a tolerance, just like us!  Below is a list of key items to consider packing.

The Basics:

  • Leash and appropriately collar with CURRENT identification tags.  If your dog goes missing a current contact number on your tags is crucial! An extra leash is never a bad idea if your dog is a chewer.
  • Poop bags. Cleaning up after your pet is not only respectful of others using the trails and campground but also is better for the natural environment.
  • Dog food. Be sure to have enough for an extra day or two and keep it in a waterproof container.  Also, it is important to secure the food away from where wildlife can access this!
  • Clean water. Don’t just let your pet drink from lakes or streams.  There are several possible exposure risks.  They include, but are not limited to: chemical run off, contamination from a parasite called giardia, or Blue-Green Algae (cyanobacteria).  This can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, skin irritation, muscle tremors, even death.
  • Flea and tick preventatives. These come in many forms: tablets, collars or spot-on liquids.  Your veterinarian can help decide which product is best for your dog.  Leave the bugs at the campground!

The Extras:

  • A tether or crate, this will come in handy for times that you or your pet need a break.
  • A dog bed or blanket that smells like home, this will help your dog be more comfortable while camping.  You may even want to bring a tarp to place underneath, in case of wet muddy ground.
  • A special dog treat or toy to keep your favorite pooch busy and happy.
  • Grooming wipes or dog shampoo and a towel.  While mud may be fun for our pets, it is a total drag in the camper or on the car ride home!

The First-Aid Kit:

  • Tweezers to remove thorns, slivers or even an attached tick.
  • Hydrogen peroxide 3%:  sometimes our dogs eat something they shouldn’t have.  In certain cases, hydrogen peroxide may be recommended as a treatment.  Never use this unless a specific dose has been recommended by your veterinarian or a specialist at Pet Poison Helpline!  Write our number down and tape it to the bottle!  1-855-764-7661
  • Liquid dish washing detergent.  This can help remove various substances from our pet’s skin.
  • Ophthalmic saline solution
  • Ice pack-instant, one-time use, with a small hand towel to wrap around the pack.
  • Diphenhydramine 25 mg tablets with NO other combination ingredients. A veterinarian can give a dosage for your dog’s weight if they are having an allergic reaction.
  • Bandage materials such as gauze pads, adhesive tape, or rolls of gauze.

*Please remember to keep all medications, yours or your pet’s, out of reach from your pooch!

Being prepared helps me relax and enjoy my family, the human and furry kind.  Hopefully this list helps you enjoy yourself too!